Hallowell International in Bangor, Maine, is the manufacturer of the Acadia, a combined heating and cooling system that can be combined with solar or wind installations to take users off the grid. The system can be installed in new buildings or can be retrofitted when consumers are considering green upgrades.
CleanTechies has three questions for president and founder Duane Hallowell.
CleanTechies: Acadia uses something called “boosted compression” technology. Tell us about that.
Duane Hallowell: Since the 1950s, heat pumps, which operate by exchanging air for heating and cooling, have been the most popular and environmentally-friendly heating ventilation and cooling (HVAC) application. However, because they absorb heat from the outside air, they are inefficient in cold-weather climates, requiring additional, costly heating elements in order to work correctly.
The Acadia is the first heat pump to successfully operate unaided at temperatures below freezing. Acadia uses four stages of compression instead of the traditional single stage to eliminate the use of inefficient strip heat when the temperature falls below freezing.
The patented technology eliminates the need for additional components and allows the unit to operate efficiently in temperatures as low as 30 degrees below zero and results in consumers reducing dependence on fossil fuels as backup.
CleanTechies: What are the cost considerations when retrofitting a building with Acadia?
Hallowell: Like any renovation, a retrofit requires careful planning, and there are many factors to consider before investing. Homeowners that currently have central air-conditioning or forced air systems in their home will already have the duct work in place and will have an easy transition installing the Acadia. Baseboard heat homes will require duct work as part of an Acadia installation. But the added expense can often be curbed with tax incentives and rebates that are available.
CleanTechies: You indicate that the Acadia works with wind or solar installations. Both have problems when the wind is low or the sun isn’t shining. How does Acadia compensate?
Hallowell: Today, customers that choose to use renewable energy such as solar and wind are typically still connected to the electric grid for reliability. These technologies still require a means by which to convert the captured energy into electricity. This source for electricity needs to be reliable and sustainable to ensure accessibility when weather doesn’t cooperate.
The Acadia is able to do this, and uses electric energy to transfer heating and cooling efficiently and comfortably. Additionally, wind and solar will continue to generate kilowatt-hours even when they are not being used by the home and/or their Acadia leading to kilowatt-hour credits can offset an electric bill and continue to save the customer money.